If you’re struggling to pay bills or put food on the table for yourself and your family, we have some helpful and useful tips that can aid you when times are tough.
Check what benefits you can receive
You might be eligible to receive additional payments from your local council or the government that can help you with the cost of living. These payments are there to help vulnerable people in society afford things like their bills and food. If you’re on a low income, are looking for work, care for a family member, are disabled, pregnant or have children, you may be able to claim benefits in the UK. Online benefits calculators can help you find out what you’re eligible to claim. Never assume you’re not eligible for benefits until you have checked or spoken to a professional benefits advisor.
Contact your suppliers
Get into contact with all of your energy suppliers; they may be able to help you if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills at this time. Many utility suppliers provide welfare assistance and can agree to a payment plan that is affordable to your situation. They might also be able to provide you with things such as free loft insulation, free energy-saving bulbs and tips to bring down your energy consumption to make bills more affordable. It is always worth a conversation as they have a duty of care to their customers, and speaking to the provider first will mean your energy supply is less likely to be cut off completely.
Cut down on non-essential spending
Take a good look at your finances and regular ongoing monthly payments. Anything you can remove to free up extra money to pay for your necessities is a bonus. Monthly rolling subscriptions to services for entertainment can often be put on hold for a period of time if you’re struggling with money. You can also downgrade your phone or internet package to a slower speed and less data to free up money for essential bills and food. When you go through your recent spending, look at each item and see if there is a way you could reduce the cost or cancel the service altogether.
Use food banks
Food banks can be very helpful if you’re in a situation where you need to choose between paying your bills or feeding yourself. Food banks are located all over the country and help millions of people get through difficult periods of their lives. They provide those in need with free food. Some food banks require a referral from a social worker, job centre or a GP. The Citizens Advice Bureau or a charity you're working with can also refer you to a food bank if you qualify for food parcels.
Stop ignoring debt payments
You may need to reevaluate your debt payments if you’re struggling to pay for the essentials. There are many
that can help free up extra money to pay for essentials such as food and bills. Trying to pay back payday loans with crippling interest rates can quickly consume all of your income. Look at alternative solutions to consolidate your debt and minimise interest repayments. You can reduce your debt payments and make things more manageable by consulting debt charities and helplines to set up payment plans or agreements with your creditors. Search online and take advice from various places and experts before committing to a particular solution.
Consider switching your provider
Energy providers charge different rates; you may benefit from switching to an alternative energy provider or paying differently. A metering system can be helpful for people who struggle with large bills. Energy metres allow you to pay for gas and electricity upfront and check how much you have left whenever you need it. This way, you can make informed decisions about what appliances to use and how long you can have the heating on in your home. Furthermore, smart metres allow you to see exactly how much electricity and gas you use every day, along with the cost. This can help households struggling with high energy bills to identify appliances that are costly to run; reducing or replacing these appliances could help to save you money on bills.